Russia is the target market of over 2,000 Afghan drug laboratories, Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov said at a meeting in Troitsk, Chelyabinsk region, on Friday.

"Afghan heroin continues to shape the Russian drug market. Transnational organized criminal groups are using various routes to flood Russia with Afghan heroin and hashish, Asian and European synthetic drugs and a huge variety of new "designer" drugs. The south, Central Asia, is the main direction [from which these drugs are coming]," Ivanov said.

"Russia is the target market for more than 2,000 drug laboratories operating in northern Afghan provinces alone," Ivanov said.

Some 150 large drug rings are operating in Central Asia to smuggle drugs into Russia. There are also almost 1,900 organized criminal groups, over 1,200 of them formed along ethnic lines. These groups have approximately 20,000 active members and no less than 100,000 drug mules.

This infrastructure is designed to transport hard Afghan drugs across the Russian border. Less than 4 percent of the transported drugs are seized at the border. Yet global practices show that it is possible to stop up to 40 percent of drug shipments at the border.

Russian law enforcement agencies annually expose 200 heroin-related crimes and almost 60,000 attempts to sell heroin are stopped inside the country.

"Therefore, practically all the drug crimes are detected inside the country. Paradoxically, Russia has a state border mechanism but its efficiency in stopping drugs from flowing into the country is extremely low, that is, we have the border but it does not work as a mechanism to suppress contraband," Ivanov said.

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